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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Homeowners' association boards can go too far

Many of California's residential communities come with restrictions when it comes to the outward appearance of their homes. For instance, homeowners' association boards may enforce rules regarding keeping the grass cut, cars out of the yard and the trees trimmed. These may seem like reasonable expectations in order to keep the neighborhood looking well maintained, but sometimes, HOA boards can go too far.

For instance, a homeowner in another state recently found himself in a battle with his HOA over the paint color on his home. He claims that it is gray, but members of the board say that it is purple, which is a prohibited color. The HOA assessed the homeowner fines of around $1,000 already. The problem is that the home has been the same color for over 10 years now.

The problem is that it is often difficult to win a battle with an HOA. In many cases, some sort of settlement is the only resolution. Unless a homeowner can rally support from others in the neighborhood or bring attention to the issue in some other way, many homeowners find it easier to comply with a board's request even if it seems like the board is overreaching. The Texas man in this case got the media involved, and it seems to have at least opened the lines of communication. 

Anytime California homeowners believe that their homeowners' association boards have crossed the line, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion. The bylaws, the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) and other documented rules may shed some light on the issue. After a thorough review of the relevant documentation, legal options may present themselves.

Source: khou.com, "Question arises after controversy over house color: Do HOAs overreach?", Jessica Borg, April 26, 2018

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